Posts Tagged“raphael”

Raphael 2014 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc


Since his arrival on Long Island in 2007, Anthony Nappa — who serves as winemaker for Raphael as well as his own label after working for Shinn Estate Vineyards for four years — has shown a deft hand with North Fork sauvignon blanc. Perhaps Nappa’s time spent studying winemaking in New Zealand helped a little. Regardless, he makes some of my favorite local sauvignon, more or less regardless of who he’s making it for or where the fruit comes from. Sometimes they are crispy and lighter-styled. Other times they are concentrated and textural. Raphael 2014 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc ($28) continues that tradition and…

Raphael 2014 Sauvignon Blanc


Made without even a splinter of oak, Raphael 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($20), is a brisk, somewhat lean rendition of North Fork sauvignon blanc. Dominant aromas and flavors of citrus blossom, stony talc and straw are supported by light lemon, lemon verbena and gooseberry qualities. Juicy, citrusy acid keeps the palate crunchy and accentuates the minerally, stony notes. Bottled only a month ago, I plan to re-taste this wine in a month or so and will update this note if needed. Producer: Raphael AVA: North Fork of Long Island Varieties: 97% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Semillon pH: 3.18 TA: 8.4 g/L Barrel Program: None;…

Empire State Cellars Wine Club: September 2014 Selections

Harvest season is nearly upon us across New York wine country. In fact, I’ve heard reports of grapes destined for sparkling wine coming in this week. It’s a busy time of year at every winery — and it has been for me too as we worked to finalize this month’s picks. This is a pretty classic ESC club shipment — we focus on the grapes that regions do best as well as some of New York’s top producers. I hope you enjoy the picks as much as my friends and I have of late. “Hello New York” Wines Raphael 2013…

Raphael 2013 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc


Not that long ago, Raphael produced what I considered the benchmark sauvignon blanc on the North Fork of Long Island. It was fruit-forward but not too ripe or fruity. It was minerally but not austere and flavorless. Then, with some  staffing changes in the cellar came a fall off. The wine was still solid, but rarely more. The 2013 vintage was winemaker Anthony Nappa’s first at the helm and after tasting Raphael 2013 “First Label” Sauvignon Blanc ($28) Raphael could be on its way to again becoming a quality leader in the region. Sourced from the estate’s oldest sauvignon blanc vines, this intensely aromatic white shows…

Winter Vine Damage Not Widespread on Long Island — But it’s Out There


This past winter was a rough one across much of the northeast, with lots of snow and some of the coldest temperatures in recent years. As my colleague Evan Dawson wrote last month, those temperatures will have a not-insignificant impact on the Finger Lakes wine industry. On Long Island, the damage wasn’t nearly as severe or widespread, but with bud break’s arrival, Long Island growers can now better assess what damage was sustained, if any. Elevation matters, even here where many Long Island are seemingly flat. Little rises and dips matter because the coldest air pools in those low areas…

News Brief: Merliance Elects Roth, Nappa and Ginsburg as New Officers


Merliance (formerly known as the Long Island Merlot Alliance) has named offers for a new two-year term — ending in June 2015 — based on a vote of members. Roman Roth, partner, winemaker and technical director at Wolffer Estate is the group’s new president. Roth is also one of the founders of the organization. He said in a press release “The Merliance has come a long way since we started in 2005. With collective reviews of our merlots and merlot-based blends in national publications, annual consultations with international oenologists and elegant wine-focused events like HARVEST EAST END to our credit,…

Raphael 2010 Cabernet Franc


Ripe but Old World-styled, Raphael 2010 Cabernet Franc ($25) offers blackberry and black cherry aromas with layers of dried autumn leaves, sandalwood and a light sprinkling of pencil shavings on the nose. Medium-to-full bodied, the palate is ripe and rife with those same black fruits, accented by varied earthy flavors, dried herbs — with medium-intense, drying tannins. The finish shows a bitter, almost chemical note that is off putting and mars what is otherwise a fine example of North Fork cabernet franc. Producer: Raphael AVA: North Fork of Long Island ABV: 12.8% Price: $25* | Buy Now From Empire State Cellars (2.5 out of…

Raphael Winery 2011 First Label Sauvignon Blanc


Challenging growing season shows here on the nose, which is surprisingly subdued. Light aromas of fresh and candied lemon are joined by subtle notes of minty herbs. Lighter bodied as well, there are mild flavors of citrus and under-ripe melon as well as light grassy-herbal notes. There is also plenty of fresh acidity — but not really enough of everything else to bring balance. Producer: Raphael AVA: North Fork of Long Island ABV: 12.4% Price: $26* (2.5 out of 5, Average-to-Very Good)

Raphael Winery 2011 Riesling


Offers aromas of slightly bruised pear, apple, white flowers and spice. The palate is less interesting — showing generic fruitiness that is somewhat stale — with a bit of a floral note and sharp acidity seems a bit disjointed. Finishing a bit sour and medium-short, this wine just isn’t particularly good — probably the result of a difficult growing season. Producer: Raphael AVA: North Fork of Long Island ABV: 11.8% Price: $20*

Raphael 2009 Naturale White

By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief When Raphael winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich released his first Naturale — a 2008 white blend (read the NYCR review) made without the addition of sugar or acid, without filtration or fining, and using naturally occurring yeasts and only the slightest bit of SO2 during bottling, I was intrigued. I look for deliciousness in wine, rather than a particular style of winemaking. Natural, biodynamic, organic, sustainable — they all matter on some level, but not if the wine isn't delicious. That 2008 received a 4-start rating and was a finalist in the NYCR Wines of the Year. Raphael…